Your Weekly Diversion, Week 38

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Photo courtesy of Theen Moy

Okay, it’s week 38, and more violence and incomprehensible suffering. Maybe life in this world has always been filled with violence and incomprehensible suffering, but we are certainly more aware of it now with our global media sources, from social to formal. So whether it’s our own personal suffering, or that of our fellow Americans in Puerto Rico and Las Vegas, the anxieties of DACA youth, sick people in fear of losing their coverage, and floods, famine, unrest and wars across the globe, the magnitude of current suffering really can’t be ignored. It sometimes feels our hearts cannot withstand it all. And yet most of us can and do. One foot in front of the other, doing the next right thing.

Each of us has our heartaches. No human being, and probably no being of any ilk, can escape suffering, what Buddhists call dukkha. We must muddle through the miseries that will surely find us as best we can, be they personal, collective or catastrophically global. Just as a tennis player facing the ball machine, we must prepare, get into position and believe we have the ability to cope with what comes speeding at us. Yes, we will fail to see some challenges coming our way, but being accepting of the realities of this life will better help us deal with them.

That said, sometimes heartache brings us to our knees, and we may end up in the fetal position, barely breathing, and perhaps even unsure we wish to get to our feet again. It feels as if it is all just too much. But as Annie sings, the sun comes out the next morning, whether or not we are standing at the window to see it. So we might as well pull ourselves up and try to get back into position to meet the day. And if we can’t, let us believe there are good people everywhere who step in to try to help.

Here are this week’s diversions, and you’ve been very patient to read thus far to get to them!

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How about a unicorn horn for a kiddo getting ready for Halloween? Or for your own costume party! This one is available here but the site isn’t taking orders right now, so here’s a link to DIY unicorn horns . Trick or treat, yeah!

Need some upbeat inspiration? Don’t we all! These wonderful women tell it to us like it is. You go, girls!

And if you’d like to help the devastated island of Puerto Rico and her good people who are staggering from the blows Hurricane Maria threw at them, here are Lin-Manuel Miranda and the amazing musicians who joined with him in creating this beautiful song, “Almost Like Praying.” At the end of the video, there’s a link to make a donation. And you can buy the song on iTunes, too.

Namasté

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Your Weekly Diversion, Week 6

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Oops, first published this as Week 5 but that was last week!

Another week of blistering ridiculousness and falsehoods prated as fact. A groundswell of people is rising up and confronting their elected officials, if they are lucky enough that the official shows up, to demand their healthcare coverage not be legislated away.

Breathe, detach with love, put your feet where your heart is. And then you realize, as powerless as you feel, that maybe it IS your circus after all.

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Lucy. I love Lucy, and always have. As a therapist I’ve often prescribed watching “I Love Lucy” reruns for depression and anxiety. And this cute graphic reminds us that as crazy as the carnival called Washington has become, those lawmakers are our monkeys. So if you have the opportunity to attend a town hall and advocate for what matters to you, please do. [And thus ends our lesson for today.]

So, how about some diversion? These 3-D sculptures are amazing and only bloom through the magic of strobing.

And there are some totally amazing people out there. Here’s a feature about a girl named Taylor Richardson who became inspired to become an astronaut by watching the movie “Hidden Figures” and set up a GoFundMe account so other girls could see it too. STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) is crucial for our collective survival, and yes, girls belong in STEM!

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View story at Medium.com

Music hath charms to soothe a savage breast (attributed to William Congreve). And while I love a good rollicking beat, this song is more solemn, which seems to be what we need this week, and it is exquisitely rendered a capella by Pentatonix.

And today this is my practice

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Your Weekly Diversion, Week 2

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Howdy, ya’ll. Well, we’ve made it through another week of  crazy news and stressful circumstances, so here’s what I’ve been noting down this week for you to enjoy or learn from.

First you might be interested in the latest from Martin & Company. Back in the 70s I knew a guy who worked there, and he told me employees got to make their own guitar.

Now, did you know that President Barack Obama published three (3) scholarly articles in esteemed journals this month alone? Me neither, and I’ve scanned them, and they’re pretty impressive. No other sitting president has done this, I believe. Boy, do I miss him!

It looks like any official efforts by the United States to stem climate change aren’t going to happen in the next four years, but as I posted last week, Forbes Magazine published this great article telling us what each of us can do, so let’s do our part. By the way, check out how many scientists have decided to run for office since January 20, 2017. Cool, right?

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Photo by Troy Dillard, courtesy of Lion’s Roar

As a Buddhist, I am very grateful that my people turned out in women’s marches all over the world last Saturday. Check this out. That’s the very cool abbot Roshi Pat Enkyo O’Hara of the Village Zendo in the pussy hat, which you’ll see when you scroll through the article.

And I want to leave you with your feet tapping and your heart soaring so let’s hear it for the indomitable Carole King who re-released this for the Women’s March she attended in the Northern Tier. She offers this song, “One Small Voice” to us all free to stream and download.

 

Namasté

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Oversight: Our Environment

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Image courtesy of Randall T. Monk, http://www.TimelyGuidance.com

What will become of our beloved planet now that responsible oversight may have begun to lapse? Apparently all references to climate change and our nation’s extensive plans to combat it have been scrubbed from the whitehouse.gov website, as detailed in The New York Times.

What can you and I do ourselves to oversee it and make positive change on our own collective behalf?  I was pleased to see this article in Forbes today giving 9 concrete steps each of us can do right now.

It’s on!

Here’s  Neil Young singing about “Mother nature on the run in the twenty-first century” in After the Gold Rush.

Namasté

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For The Daily Post

Are You An Anthropocentrist?

This comprehensive treatment of the complexity and authenticity of the nonhuman animal world reminds us we aren’t the best nor are we necessarily the most intelligent of all living creatures. Perhaps as a vegan I have thought more of animals than some, but I learned so much reading this. Are you an anthropocentrist? Read and find out…

Laura Grace Weldon

animal intelligence, anthropocentrism, Paradise, by Gillis d’Hondecoeter circa 1575

When I was growing up we were taught humans were at the top of every chart, far superior to all other living beings. Our textbooks, illustrated with stereotypical images of “cave men,” proved the assertion with a long list of what our species could do that others could not. The list was so smug that I was a bit embarrassed on behalf of my fellow homo sapiens. A skeptic even then, I thought the list was somewhat prejudicial. Worse, it didn’t acknowledge what feels obvious to young children, that we are all things and all things are us.

I don’t for a moment dismiss our many human accomplishments—among them language, science, the arts, and shared rules meant to advance mutual compassion. I simply mean to point out that we’re not better, we’re different.

Besides, what I was taught as a kid doesn’t really hold up. Here are…

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Kevita!

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As as a vegan I have long wished for a non-dairy kefir, and now we have one, sweetened with stevia, non-GMO, organic, made with coconut water and much lower in calories than regular dairy kefir.  Visit the website to find a store near you. I checked, and I can find it in a number of stores within an easy walk from my office, and even in markets near my rural home. How cool is that? 

If you’d like to know why probiotics are so important to our health, I recommend this blog http://allergiesandyourgut.com/2014/11/18/prebiotics-probiotics/.

I bought a bottle today, and it’s very good. It’s slightly fizzy, refreshing, and has a light, fruity taste. The flavor I bought is Blueberry Cherry and does not contain coconut water, but does have organic apple cider vinegar, something I love. Although the bottle says it may contain traces of alcohol, it isn’t detectable to me, either in flavor or effect. This product isn’t cheap, costing me $3.49 plus tax at my Manhattan Whole Foods. It isn’t really kefir, but it has four strains of live probiotics.

If you try it, let me know what you think.

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Dharma Rain on the Climate Train, Climate March & Flood Wall Street

If you read nothing else today, if you view no other media today, please go to David’s blog post to view his amazing video about the Dharma Train to the Climate March of September 15, 2014 and the March itself. David is a fellow Buddhist blogger who shares my view about people, the planet, suffering and the 8 Noble Truths. He has interviewed Buddhist monks, nuns and laypeople, seniors and the young hope for our future. Go to his blog, and view the video. Do it now! Namaste, Sonnische

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Meditation is not meant to help us avoid problems or to run away from difficulties.
It is meant to allow positive healing to take place.
To meditate is to learn how to stop – to stop being carried away by our regrets about the past,
our anger or despair in the present, or our worries about the future.  ~Thich Nhat Hanh

Thank you grandma for offering your presence
with the masses who took action
so that a future would be possible for us.
People taking action, even when elected leaders would not.
You looked so happy carrying your sign
“there is no planet B”
next to friends’ signs
“tar sands are for losers”
and “Grandmas Against Global Warming.”

Thank you grandpa for riding on the people’s climate train with hundreds of others
attending dozens of workshops about the environmental causes and conditions in 2014.
Those actions, prayers and meditations helped
wake up grassroots…

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